Over the last 8.5 months, my pregnancy has been pretty predictable. I've gotten bigger. I occasionally cry about silly things. I've become obsessed with baby clothes and supplies, and I spend too much time reading way too many articles and books on pregnancy and parenting. But there have been some surprises, too. The biggest one:
Every pregnancy is different. Symptoms vary dramatically from woman to woman. The best ways to deal with those symptoms vary too. The way that we react to challenges, and the way that things affect us over the course of these 10 months—it's all over the map. You can ask for advice from fellow mamas—and you probably should, at least to get some empathy—but ultimately, this journey is yours, and you've got to figure out your best path.
Doctor's visits are pretty painless (at least for the first nine-ish months). I'd always imagined that being pregnant would involve endless doctor's visits with endlessly uncomfortable pelvic exams, but I've been surprised to find that most visits are quite routine—even boring. Blood pressure check, weight check, heartbeat check, any questions? And I'm on my way. My last month of visits will be weekly—and sans clothes, I've been warned—but I'm relieved everything up until now has been so simple.
Some people just love a pregnant woman. Sure, I've gotten the occasional rude comment about my size—that wasn't a surprise. But what I didn't expect was so much genuine joy and curiosity directed at my belly. I mean, there are a lot of pregnant ladies out there. I rarely give them a second glance, myself—never have. But since I started really showing, I've learned that some people will grin broadly when they see me, ask questions (When are you due? Boy or girl?), and sometimes even talk directly to my belly (Hi, baby!). It's impossibly sweet and it always makes me feel good.
Birth plans don't really matter. There's so much talk of birth plans on the internet today that it seems like a crucial part of preparing for baby. A lot of it comes from mommy bloggers who position themselves as experts because they've had a few babies. But you know who the real experts are? Doctors. Nurses. Midwives. They're the ones who will guide you through this crazy, completely unpredictable experience called childbirth, and it doesn't really matter what kind of a la carte birthing experience you've carefully outlined using some template you found online. Talk to your doctor about what you want, then trust them to get you through the process.